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Sometimes I think that getting an A* is all that matters....

(57 Posts)
Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 09:36:44

I am starting to feel that's what DS1 (Year 9) thinks. sad had Parents Evening yesterday and he's a bit down now.

dingit Fri 14-Jun-13 13:13:46

My dd is in year 9, and already sat gcses in maths, science and PE. The stress has been unbelievable. So in answer to your question, I won't know sparkling, hopefully there will be a support thread for us next year!

Hullygully Fri 14-Jun-13 13:16:15

Well...I bought all the text books (secondhand off Amazon), the CGP revision guides, checked on the student room, printed off the specs and some past papers...generally made sure all possible forms of preparation and help were available and present.

Then you just have to learn the stuff!

Get the specs from the web, they tell you everything the student has to know in each course.

Of course, if you have a truly wondrous school, they'll do this, but in the real world..

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 13:20:40

Thanks Hully it really is about being prepared isn't it? I think a routine would help DS1 too. the Sunday night homework debacle grates my carrot at the moment.

dingit blimey. No GCSEs done yet thank goodness.

dingit Fri 14-Jun-13 13:23:11

Hmmm, we shall wait for the results, but I think the school ( academy) have pushed them to early. On the other hand, she will know what to expect in future!

dingit Fri 14-Jun-13 13:23:55

* too blush

monikar Fri 14-Jun-13 13:24:31

I don't really know the answer to that I'm afraid. For us, the GCSEs did take over nearly everything. DD's school made them do a lot of subjects and there were so many controlled assessments in so many of them. Also, the school made them do more than was necessary and then submitted the 2 best of 3 pieces of work if 2 pieces was required for example. Honestly, every week there seemed to be something.

The best advice I can give is to encourage your DS to keep up with everything - get started on big homeworks when they are given out as often they take longer than you think they will.

Also, be meticulous about backing up documents on the computer. DD had a memory stick which she kept for 'saved' work, so she saved it on this and on the hard-drive. It is expensive on ink but she printed out 2 hard copies of important work - one to hand in and one as a spare in case the first gets lost/misplaced. Over the course of the 2 years, she came home several times with tales of friends who had pieces of work lost or they had lost their school memory stick and hadn't kept a copy.

DD still went out with her friends but cut down on socialising at the end as there was so much to do.

It's a hard 2 years but it sounds like your DS is wise and sensible to be thinking and planning for it now.

lljkk Fri 14-Jun-13 13:26:15

OP's thread title is the most common view on MN.

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 13:29:49

Mmm, I think I get a bit of that impression come to think of it lljkk, maybe subconciously that has skewed my view. I don't venture onto Education threads very often.

Great tips Monikar, I am making notes.

orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 13:30:25

Sparkling, your ds sounds lovely. As a teacher and a mother of a now grown teenage ds, it is my experience that a lot of boys just want to pass, never mind aim foe an A*

If he really wants it, he will be able to do it. The second set go at a slightly slower pace, but can get A* easily.

Now my ds was an A* candidate who happily settled for a B angry. It will all unfold magically during Y10,and it doesn't take over their life. < recalls ds's hours on x box live with no evidence of revision>. It is slightly different now, as all modules have been scrapped, so all the pressure will come at the end of Year 11.

As one who remembers O Levels, which were done in a similar manner, I seem to remember doing not very much until exam revision time wink

ExitPursuedByABear Fri 14-Jun-13 13:36:40

My DD, Y8, is already getting stressy about her choices. She was of the understanding that if she moved into the bottom set for maths she would not be able to take the higher level paper and could only get a C.

She managed 76% in her end of year exam. We were delighted but she pointed out she still came bottom. Someone has to!

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 13:38:03

smile orange. DS has to really put the work in to get his good marks so he may need a bit of cajoling here and there.

How much to the GCSE grades matter when going on to do A Levels? Is a really good mark essential to be able to study that subject?

orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 13:44:17

I've experience you need at least a B in any subject you want to do at A level. It is my experience that C grades struggle a bit.

There is some formula my school uses to decide who can do 2, 3 or 4 A levels, which is based on GCSE results but I don't know what it is. Something like an average of 8 b's or above to do 4

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 13:46:12

Exit DS1 seems very aware of everyone elses's marks which annoys me a bit. sad

That sounds about right orange. it's not an A* or you can't do it then? grin 4 A levels? <faints>

monikar Fri 14-Jun-13 17:12:59

Sparkling When DD was in years 10 and 11 there seemed to be less sharing of the marks than there had been in lower years, if that is any comfort to you. Perhaps it was because they were doing the 'real' stuff then.

DD is at the end of year 12 now. I agree that you need at least a B in a subject you want to take at A level, not only from the point of view that the school wouldn't let you take it (some schools specify at least a B), but the fact that you need the background and level of understanding in a subject at GCSE in order to be able to take it further, otherwise the jump to A level would be even greater than it already is.

So no, you don't have to have an A* in a subject if you want to do it at A level.

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 17:17:06

Thanks monikar. I am feeling a bit less mithered about it all now. DS1 seems ok, but they have all been discussing who got what in the end of term tests and who said what at Parents Evening. hmm

Can I be nosey and ask what your DD is taking at A Level? Has she got future plans?

monikar Fri 14-Jun-13 17:51:59

Yes, of course. She is doing Maths and 3 sciences at A level. She's not sure what she wants to do - she will decide further when she gets her AS results.

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 18:00:00

Thanks monikar. smile So the Science/Humanities decision is made at least.

clam Fri 14-Jun-13 18:17:15

With ds and GCSEs last year, there seemed to be a definite feel amongst his swotty mates that only A* counted - a bit like Olympic golds. He did really well, 9As and 2A*s (plus a couple of Bs) but had the hump for a few days as all his mates were only comparing how many A*s they'd got.
But of course, once Year 12 got going, they realised that it's the road ahead with A2s and A levels that really count.

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 18:25:26

That sounds like DS1's mates clam. Sounds like he did really well though you must have been chuffed.

Once A levels are done is anyone interested in what grades they got at GCSE?

orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 18:29:34

Why wasn't my ds like thisconfused. He only cared about getting top marks in Halo and World of Warcaft.

Now he's at uni he is better but still wants to be top in League of Legends <sigh>

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 18:31:32

He's at Uni thought orange. smile What's he studying? Apart from League of Legends?

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 18:31:41


orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 18:34:46

No, he pulled it off in the end, got all his exams.

He's doing History. Tells me all about Thatcher and the miners srtike

Sparklingbrook Fri 14-Jun-13 18:39:00

Oh no. That's History? sad

landofsoapandglory Fri 14-Jun-13 18:40:47

Sparkling DS1 is just doing his A levels now and he said to me the other day that no-one thinks or asks about GCSEs now. He worked his socks off, got all As and A*s, but says knowing what he knows now he would probably have not stressed as much.

He went for History, English, Law and Psychology at AS level and dropped Law as he went though to A2. He is predicted all A's but is saying he isn't going to Uni!

DS2 is doing his GCSEs now, he is working hard because he needs to get the grades to go through to 6th Form. He will be doing sciences at A level because he wants to be a nurse.

. If they want to do well, IMO they will. Your DS sounds like he does. As he goes through into Yr10 and 11 you might find his friendship group changes a bit and he joins up with youngsters of a similar mindset as him, I know my DSes did.

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